I am lucky enough to have had fantastic college roommates. Lots of them in fact, but I am still in touch with 4 of them. Of those 4 who
haven’t entered the witness protection program, my friend and former roomie Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (she picked her blog name which I LOVE!!) offered to write a post for me. The topic: Couples Without Babies and the People Who Want To Know Why When It’s Really None of Their Beeswax. I love to hear about stuff that’s none of my beeswax. So I said, Rock on, Girlfriend! And here is what she said:
It officially began at my wedding reception. Literally at the reception. Sometime into hour three my dad actually said, Now get to work on those grandchildren! This was entirely unexpected from my reserved retired Naval officer/science teacher dad. He may have had a beer or two, but he meant exactly what he said. No doubt about it. Horrification set in immediately. I still blush a little just typing it. (Editor’s note: I have met your dad and I am blushing reading it.)
Which is just the thing. People who are normally polite and lovable lose their senses when it comes to married people without babies (and I won’t even get into people who are not normally polite and lovable).
I should mention that my husband and I walked down the aisle at the respective ages of 31 and 32. I know, I’m a cradle robber! (Editor’s note: Giddyup!) It’s been a decade since then, so this might partially explain the intensity of people’s flight of senses when it comes to asking us about having babies, and the crazed looks when my response isn’t, Oh my God. YES. I’m so glad you asked because we are totally going for it! In fact, you need to leave so I can go get it on with my husband right now!
I get it, though. People aren’t trying to be intrusive or rude. Babies are big life stuff, (Editor’s Note: Not to mention how sweet and yummy they are, and don’t even get me started on how babies smell!) probably the biggest decision people make in their lives, so I don’t begrudge the questions. I just wish that sometimes it weren’t so …
nosey and mannerless awkward.
There isn’t some “big meaning” – a thing about why we don’t have kids. I’m not trying to keep the world population under control, and I’m not not doing it for the sake of the environment. And when I think about it, I’m so glad neither of those is my thing, because talk about an awkward conversation: Um, yeah. We don’t have kids because of people like you who are contributing to gross overpopulation of our planet and total environmental disaster. Wanna go get a latte?
I’m not even not doing it because I have a fabulous jet-setting career and lifestyle of the rich and famous. (Editor’s Note: Admit it, you’ve always had champagne wishes and caviar dreams) I am a painter/collage artist, which would seem to be a perfect fit for having kids (big-time messes for everyone!). I work from home, plus part-time in various bill-paying jobs. Believe me, it’s not glamorous.
I don’t dislike children (though if I see my dog even think about vomiting, I will get an immediate gag reflex, so that would be a super-challenge to overcome in the land of raising children). In fact, I’m generally a hit with kids – between my animals and my art studio, I’m very kid-friendly. My husband is a baby magnet. All babies instantly fall in love with him. It’s weird, but they do. I have witnesses who can testify to this. (Editor’s Note: I believe it. Babies can smell fear, and they don’t put up with shady characters.)
But, back to the point. It just hasn’t happened for us. It still might. Who knows, but it’s really kind of nobody’s beeswax if we are trying or not.
In no other circumstance in life does the question Are you and your husband having lots of unprotected sex? EVER come up. Nor should it, thank God.
And I really feel for people who have tried desperately and have not been able to have children. The seemingly innocuous (yet incredibly personal) questions might actually be painful for them, though the few women I know who have gone to great lengths to become pregnant don’t seem to mind talking about it, and often with a good dose of humor. (Editor’s Note: With the heavy parenting stuff from preconception onward, it’s either laugh or cry.)
Meanwhile, we love your kids! Really! We’re loving watching them grow up, and watching you be awesome parents. We don’t mind if your house is chaos, we can babysit even if it’s not an emergency, we are fine with talking about your shorties (even a lot), and we don’t judge you or your parenting skills. Your job is HARD!
But speaking of that, if my husband and I do have a baby, I’ll be back to ask you how in the world you handle all of the questions and judgments that are hurled your way, because honestly, if I think I’ve got it bad, I KNOW you’ve got it way worse. (Editor’s Note: I’ll reveal the biggest secret right now. You say, “suck it, hater!” and move on, leaving a wake of dirty diapers, legos and glitter behind you.)
Disclaimer: When I say “we,” I should clarify that I am speaking only for myself and my husband, though I hope and suspect we are not alone.
(Final Editor’s Note: Mrs. T-W, you are awesome! Thanks for agreeing to guest blog and for putting yourself out there. Nice work!)